Juan of the Dead: Cuban Undead

Political allegory in a zombie movie is nothing new, but Juan of the Dead may just be the worlds’ first Anti-Socialist zombie shocker.

It’s basically Shaun of the Dead set in Cuba.

Juan is 40 years old, most of which he spent in Cuba doing absolutely nothing. Juan’s only emotional tie is his daughter, Camila, a beautiful young girl that doesn’t want anything to do with her father because the only thing he’s good at is getting into trouble. Suddenly some strange things start to happen, people are turning violent attacking one to the other. Juan was first convinced it’s just another stage of the Revolution. Little by little Juan and his friends start to realize that the attackers are not normal human beings and that killing them is quite a difficult task. They’re not vampires, they’re not possessed, but they’re definitely not dissidents; a simple bite turns the victim into other violent killing machine and the only way to beat them is destroying their brains. Juan decides that the best way of facing the situation is making some money out of it. “Juan of the dead, we kill your relatives.”

The authorities try to cover up what is happening by calling the zombies dissidents and claiming that the troubles are the result of America aggression. And it is this broad political satire that makes this for me far more satisfying than the film which it owes most to, Shaun of the Dead. It also manages some moments of true horror –  there’s a great shot when Juan sticks his head under the water and sees hordes of the undead shuffling about on the ocean floor. Is it actually a better movie than Shaun of the Dead? I’m not sure but on times it  comes close and in a list of zombie comedies it would most certainly rank above Zombieland and possibly come out on an equal footing with Shuan. The gore doesn’t really work and there’s nothing ground breaking here but the overall feel is of comedy, so that’s perhaps not important.


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